Development of Tools
To collect comparable data that can serve as basis for an analysis of firearms trafficking flows, trends and patterns and that fosters information exchange and international cooperation, the development and roll out of a data collection methodology that is standardised at global level is key. In this vein, UNODC developed the ‘annual seizures’ and the ‘significant seizures’ questionnaires, which were used as basis for the UNODC Study on Firearms 2015 and Country Fact Sheets 2015.
With a view to improving the data collection methodology, the questionnaires were revised in a series of steps including an expert group meeting, informal meetings with experts, a pilot exercise and in-house consultations between various branches of UNODC. The final product of this exercise is the Illicit Arms Flows Questionnaire (IAFQ), which is the result of a comprehensive revision exercise that was undertaken in close cooperation and consultation with Member States, international organizations with relevant data collection mechanisms as well as firearms and statistical experts. More than 160 individuals were actively involved in and contributed to this revision process, increasing the commitment and support for the official data collection cycles.
The IAFQ serves the dual purpose of collecting firearms data and information in line with the mandate provided by the Conference of Parties to the Organised Crime Convention to UNODC, as well as of supporting the global monitoring of steps towards attainment of the target 16.4. of the Sustainable Development Goals and its indicator 16.4.2 by UNODC. Since its launch on 14 June 2018, Member States are requested to provide, on an annual basis, data to UNODC using the two excel files which make up the IAFQ: The statistical data file collects quantitative and qualitative core information on seized, found and surrendered weapons; parts, components and ammunition; tracing results; significant seizures; criminal justice response to illicit firearms trafficking; as well as information on the seizure context. The metadata file collects information on the scope and nature of the data provided in the data file and contextual information about each countries’ firearms control regime, which is important for correctly understanding, interpreting and contextualizing the data provided by Member States.